Farmer’s Market celebrates five years of local food

Cranbrook market season for 2013 announced with longest run yet

Carrots? Check. Potatoes? Got ‘em. Tattoo? Done! You never know what you’re going to find at the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market. After picking up some produce

Carrots? Check. Potatoes? Got ‘em. Tattoo? Done! You never know what you’re going to find at the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market. After picking up some produce

It’s been chilly, and snowy and grey, but here’s a wonderful tidbit of good news to warm up those winter boots: the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market Society has set the dates for 2013.

It’s looking to be the longest market season yet as the society celebrates five years of local food and community.

“We’re heading into our fifth season of operating the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market,” said Erna Jensen-Shill, market manager.

The fifth year will be bigger and better than ever as the society continues to expand what they offer to the community.

“As the community and our customers have seen over the last few years, we continue to grow,” Jensen-Shill said.

This year’s market season will start on June 22 and run for 17 consecutive Saturdays until October 12 on 10th Avenue South. There will be two Wednesday night markets in rotary Park, but this year there will be a slight twist for patrons.

“It will be our longest Saturday season ever,” Jensen-Shill said.

For those who are eager to get shopping, the season will kick off with a spring market on May 25 at the Cranbrook Curling Club.

“It was very popular last year for those market customers that just can’t wait,” Jensen-Shill said.

The evening markets will be back by popular demand again. This year, Jensen-Shill said they are going to celebrate the very thing that brought the society together and started the farmer’s market craze: local food.

“This year we’re going to put more of a festival market spin on it,” she said.

Those markets will be held in Rotary Park on July 17 and August 14.

Behind the scenes, there’s plenty of activity going on for the society as well. Jensen-Shill said the board is focusing on looking at what they are successful at, and growing professionally.

This year the society will finally get the chance to attend the B.C. Association of Farmer’s Markets annual general meeting, which is being held in Kamloops. Jensen-Shill said the meeting is often held on the coast or Vancouver Island, which makes it difficult for the board to travel. They also plan to do more training for the board members and Jensen-Shill to make the already well-established markets run even smoother.

“I’m very excited about all of that,” Jensen-Shill said.

The farmer’s market wouldn’t have been so successful if it weren’t for the community support, Jensen-Shill said. The community embraced the local food issue early on, and the movement has grown right along with the market.

“It’s all sort of come together in somewhat of a perfect storm,” she said. “I think we’re on a really great track.”

The society is planning on hosting a vendor introduction seminar in March, which will help potential vendors take their idea from the planning stages to the market table. Jensen-Shill gets a lot of phone calls from entrepreneurs wondering how they can join the market scene, or whether their idea is a good one. She said that’s been one of the highlights of the market over the past five years – growing small businesses.

“That’s a part of the goal of all farmer’s market, is being sort of an incubator for business ideas,” Jensen-Shill said. “It’s a great testing ground if you have an idea.”

New vendors get the chance to test out their product, hear direct feedback from the customers and get suggestions on how they can improve.

The new vendor applications will be released on the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market webpage shortly at www.cranbrookfarmersmarket.com. The society also has a Facebook page that is updated with the latest market news.